The time that made ME

Confidence. It’s something we are not born with. It’s one of those few things that can be built and developed over the time. I love confident people. Ones that know their value and how much worthy they are. Ones that aren’t afraid to climb mountains, risk and take on a challenge. Confident people, in my eyes, are the ones that truly live and actually love the process of living.

Confidence is something that we can work on. We can develop it by working with ourselves on our own but the biggest affect comes from the other people around us. They are the ones that can make it or break it. People around us have the power to lift us up. Encouragement. Compliments. People! Please, compliment each other, it’s such a little thing but often gives a massive confidence boost to the other person. Another way how to gain confidence is through different experiences. Overcoming challenges and obstacles in our lives, reaching goals and making dreams become reality.

Most of the confidence I have today has come through the experience I’ve had. This experience lasted 4.5 years and trust me it has made me who I am today. Although, it wasn’t the smoothest time of my life. Lots of hurting and learning.

This is something that I’ve only shared with the closest people because I used to feel a little ashamed of it. Well, I thought this is a story worth telling of how I’ve gained the confidence in myself that I have now. It’s through being at the lowest point possible and finding my way back up.

I had a dream to go over to US and get education there while playing soccer. I was lucky enough to get that opportunity. Although, my path wasn’t as smooth and easy as I would have wanted to. Few weeks before going over to states I got injured. I tore my ACL and meniscus. Flight was already booked, all paperwork signed. No way back, really. So I jumped on that plane, knowing I won’t be able to play soccer, although that’s one of the main reasons why I was even going there in the first hand. Instantly, I felt like I wasn’t myself anymore, I lost something that I defined myself with, soccer was the image of me at the time. So I just felt small and unworthy. On top of it, my English wasn’t half as good as it is now so that puts another barrier in front of me and keeps me away from finding a way to fit it.

I remember getting on that plane – by myself, unsure of wether I even want to go anymore. But I did because it was my dream and I don’t give up that easily on my dreams. Long flight, actually few long flights to get to US from Latvia. Cried most of the time. I was so scared, so insecure. The first few weeks was a nightmare. Felt so lost and just literary scared of everything. Super insecure, by myself. Found myself crying to sleep almost every night.

That got in a way of me fitting in. Once you start off on a bad track it’s kind of hard to smooth it out later on. To make it clear, I never found my place on the team in GSU. I’ve never struggled to make friends or fit in but that was one time and place where I just couldn’t find my way. At times I felt like I was even made fun of, which was a new thing to me. I’m not sure why but my guess is because I had put on a wall for myself and after coming over with a major injury and knowing I won’t be able to speak the language I spoke the best – the soccer language, I had lost any confidence in myself. So for the first two years that I was in US, I was on a team where I didn’t find myself belonging at all. It’s hard to explain, it’s not like I didn’t talk to the girls but I just didn’t seem to be accepted. Although, I know it’s my own fault because of how I came in from the day one. This might be a little surprising to some people but that’s genuinely how I feel about my time there.

I did make friends at school and outside of the school that I hung out with all the time and made some amazing memories together. Still keep those people close to my heart and they certainly made those first two years much better for me. Can’t imagine what that time would have been like without them in my life.

The first two years was a time of finding myself again, discovering who I truly was because something that I defined myself with was taken away so I had to find another ME.

After the first two years spent at GSU, I was forced to change schools and look for something else because of the scholarship. So, I started looking for my options and at that moment I knew, this is my chance to start it out fresh and make it right this time. So I did. Last 2.5 years in US was a completely different story. At EC I instantly felt accepted and I finally felt like I fit in. I was actually enjoying my time there and I did have some of my best soccer performances at the place that I’m very proud of. Even though I picked up another major injury while being there, this time it was so much easier to recover from. Because I had already built up friendships around me and they were my support system at the time and that instantly made it all easier and in general I felt more comfortable at the time.

So, getting back to the “confidence” thing. Those 4.5 years and the experience I had through those years has made me as confident and as strong as I am today. Facing that challenge from the day one as I got on the plane makes me feel like there is nothing I can’t overcome today. It made me grow up. It made me learn of who I am. That’s where I discovered myself. When I look back at the time in US, I have mixed feelings but if I had a chance to turn back the time and choose wether I would go the same path again or not. I would. Just because I would want to have the outcome I have now. Without that experience I wouldn’t be who I am today.